Can you hear me now?
By Patrick Robinson
I don’t know how often you go to the doctor but, generally speaking, men (that includes me) tend not to go. I’m not sure if it’s part of the masculine identity thing, feeling stoic and independent or just laziness or a fear of needles or a combination of factors, but men don’t like seeing the doctor.
This is stupid of course. They aren’t conspiring to hurt you after all. They study for years to be able say with a straight face. “This is going to pinch a little.”
So recently I went in for a physical where they take your blood and run tests on it to make sure you are human, ask you to breath while they listen to you, push on their arms, stare into a light, and fill out roughly 89 pages of questions mostly about illnesses you don’t have and things you aren’t allergic to.
Then he looked in my ears.
“Uh oh” he said.
Again… even if you go to the doctor like every other day this is not something you want to hear. Or in my case, sort of hear.
“Uuuvequite a buildupowaxinthere,” I thought he explained. Which also explained why on the drive to his office no matter how I adjusted the stereo U2 and Bono sounded like they were underwater.
“Lousy sound system,” I thought and turned it up.
“Dontworry,” I think he said, “Wecangetitallout” he continued in what seemed like a reassuring tone.
Then he left. A nurse entered carrying a large syringe. I was alarmed which must have registered on my face since she seemed to announce, “Itseerdrops” which made no sense to me but she was smiling so it seemed ok. She motioned for me to tilt my head and then squirted some pretty cold liquid my right ear.. whooooo. Then some drops in my left ear and blocked them off with cotton balls If I couldn’t hear well before.. that really did it. I was basically in a dive tank at that point.
I laid down since she did the praying hands gesture to the side of her face which is what that means and I waited.
I was dreaming about fish I think when she motioned for me to sit up and showed me what looked a Windex spray bottle with a conical nozzle on it. I had taken a shower… but i figured she meant she was going to spray in my ears. She handed me a square cup with a cutout for my ear lobe and thus began the irrigation. This was not like watering a field with mountain water from an underground spring or anything so poetic. This was like a miniature fire hose hitting my ear drum like Kieth Moon (he played drums for the Who), about 40 times. Nothing came out but water.
She switched sides. Rinse and repeat. Three times, then using what looked a straw from Taco Time (pretty sure it wasn’t though) she cleared my left ear! Ear Reeka!
But the right ear remained plugged like a potato in a tailpipe (don’t ever try this by the way, they taste awful).
So she tried again, going through THREE more windex containers all to no avail. It was like a lukewarm Snoqualmie Falls in there.
The Doctor came back in. “We are sending you downstairs,” he intoned in my left ear, which at first I thought meant they had all just had it with me but instead he meant to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) Doctor. “They have microscopes and vacuums down there” which was puzzling since I was certain my plugged ear was bigger than an Amoeba but no matter I boarded the elevator and they got me right in.
The ENT Doctor was a lady who said, “We have microscopes and vacuums here” which must be where the other Doctor heard it. She never did SHOW me the vacuum but did mutter something about Hoover I think before putting something that made a high pitched whirring sound in my ear. It was an odd sensation, feeling air rushing around in my ear… probably something like those reporters who stand outside in 120 mph hurricanes to prove how strong the wind is. Then, “thump” the whirring stopped as a large chunk of ear wax got stuck in her vacuum and what do you know? I heard her say “Got it!” plain as day.
She proudly showed me what looked like a waxy peanut. I sure hope it WASN’T a waxy peanut since I have enjoyed a small snack or two in bed in the past.
But in any case I was happy because I could hear clearly. Bono would be pleased I think.
So men… trust me on this. Go see your doctor. They are looking out for you. Get a physical and stay on top of your health. They recommend you have them check your ears (and all that other stuff) once a year or so.
Can you hear me?